Facing potential life behind bars from sex crimes indictments by a New York grand jury and numerous rape investigations in Los Angeles and the UK, Harvey Weinstein must have known he wasn’t going to easily be able to slither away from a scathing lawsuit from Ashley Judd.
However, the much accused and disgraced producer might not have expected to be cut down to size so substantially in Judd’s response to his attempt to have her sexual harassment and defamation civil case tossed out. Now Weinstein knows Judd and her Gibson, Dunn & Cruther LLP attorneys aren’t going to be bullied, in the courts or otherwise.
“Harvey Weinstein’s motion to dismiss is a baseless and offensive study in misdirection that demonstrates his malicious and reckless disregard for the law and for Ms. Judd’s rights to be free from sexual harassment and retaliation,” states the cutting opposition to the motion to dismiss (read it here). “It ignores and misstates key allegations in the complaint, impermissibly cites (contradictory) extrinsic evidence, and relies heavily on cases interpreting a statute that has nothing to do with this case,” lawyer Theodore Boutrous Jr. says “Weinstein also makes the bizarre argument that he purportedly sought to advance Ms. Judd’s career as part of a ‘deal’ for sex that Weinstein presents as real—rather than the decidedly ‘mock bargain’ Ms. Judd alleges she made in her complaint.
Noting how Weinstein’s alleged “misconduct occurred in secret and was concealed for years,” today’s filing also takes the boots to the dismissal request with the assertion that “Weinstein’s statute-of-limitations arguments thus fail on their face.” In that vein, and similar to the initial April 30 submission that started this lawsuit, the 34-page filing in federal court in California outlines that Judd had no idea that the blast radius for her from rejecting the producer’s 1997 “harassing conduct” was his “smear campaign” to make sure she wasn’t cast in the huge The Lord of the Rings franchise until director Peter Jackson revealed those conversations late last year. Or put another way, “because Ms. Judd did not learn the facts establishing four of the five elements of her intentional interference claim until December 2017, the statute of limitations did not begin to run until that date.”
Or put one more way, “Weinstein’s arguments thus all lack merit and his motion should be denied.”
Besides pivoting on a claim that Judd waited too long to file suit and that the actor long knew she wasn’t getting a LOTR gig, Weinstein’s late July dismissal attempt also argued that Judd failed to demonstrate that the purported harassment was anything but an isolated incident. Incredulously claiming that Weinstein and Judd had struck “a bargain” in regards to future sexual activity, the producer’s lawyers additionally cast a wide net with the assertions that any statements Weinstein might have made were “privileged remarks.”
We’ll see if Judge Philip Gutierrez agrees with that when attorneys for both sides meet up at a September 10 hearing on the dismissal motion.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.